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Insurance claims from Australia’s catastrophic summer climb over $5.19 billion

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Bushfires, hail storms and now COVID-19 have prompted thousands of Aussies to call on their insurance policies in an effort to recoup what they lost.

The insurance bill for Australia's "catastrophic" summer of bushfires, hail storms and now COVID-19 has topped $5.19 billion as insurers rush to fulfil claims.

New data from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has revealed that in the past four weeks alone more than 15,000 claims totalling $270 million have been lodged.

From November 8, 2019 – generally regarded as the beginning of Australia's horror bushfire summer – through to today almost 300,000 claims have been made.

WA bushfires

"Thousands of new claims and property loss assessments have pushed total claims to more than 288,100 and the estimated damage bill to more than $5.19 billion," said ICA Head of Communications Campbell Fuller.

"Insurers have already paid more than $2.85 billion for emergency accommodation, business interruption, repair and rebuilding work, replacement of motor vehicles and goods, services and settlements."

Mr Fuller said COVID-19 had a "handbrake effect" on insurance claims but insurers were keeping up with demand.

"This is despite the widespread impact of the natural disaster season and the handbrake effect of COVID-19," said Mr Fuller.

"Almost 50 per cent of claims from the four storm, bushfire and hailstorm catastrophes have been closed by insurers – an extraordinary result for households and businesses affected by these disasters."

The greatest value of claims came from the bushfires, in which 38,181 claims were lodged with an estimated total of $2.32 billion.

More than 80 per cent of those claims came from residents in New South Wales, and almost two thirds of insurance claims for residential buildings have been closed.

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The second most valuable disaster was hailstorms in January, which were declared a disaster for Victoria, the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland on January 19, 2020.

Residents lodged 124,693 claims with a total estimated loss of $1.525 billion.

The Insurance Council of Australia is currently "assessing" the impact of COVID-19 on claims, despite declaring it a catastrophe on March 11, 2020.

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Source: 9News

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